Community Service & Volunteering Avail Much: Toni Jackson

 ”Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

John F. Kennedy

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As I developed a clearer sense of the gifted person whose words and wisdom will be shared in this new Series, Toni Jackson, the famous words of Pres. Kennedy (above) and a well-known Bible scripture came to mind.  The scripture:

  • The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16b).

As a Christian prays, to connect with God, a cheerful volunteer donates their time to connect with their community.  Jackson is a proud Christian woman who has generously volunteered throughout her life – to support a wide range of organizations and community causes.

A Housing Specialist for the City of High Point (NC), she has volunteered countless hours – and managed volunteers too.  However, if you look only at Jackson’s paid employment, you’re missing out on a lot of what has allowed the married mother of two to make her mark.

  • During her life she’s volunteered in the areas of housing, financial capability, developmental disabilities advocacy, & public ministry.

A Series on Your Outcomes Well featuring Toni Jackson begins today.

In the biography at the bottom of this Series-launching post, her career, volunteer work, awards, and family are described.

 


Volunteerism

Those who volunteer ‘ask what they can do for their country/community’.  However, some who volunteer are ineffectual; a few who volunteer are frankly half-hearted, not fervent.  Toni Jackson has neither of these 2 problems!  She wears many unpaid, volunteer ‘hats’, in the community and in her ministry.

  • To put it simply, the fervent, effectual actions of a giving and community-involved man, woman, or child avails much.  What can you do for your community?

Jackson states: “I am passionate about housing and spend time volunteering my foreclosure prevention skills with a housing counseling agency that utilizes state-funded programs to help families facing foreclosure remain in their homes . . . I enjoy the practice of volunteering my time and skills for educational, charitable and worthwhile activities that are near and dear to my heart.  I especially enjoy volunteering in my community”.

  • When asked about her personal mission, Jackson replied it includes “empathizing, embracing, enhancing, educating and empowering . . . My approach to volunteerism is the same as my approach to a paid position.  I give it my all!”.  
  • My work ethic comes from my parents, who were inspired by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr: “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. . . . You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Again, what can you do for your community?   Be aware of the high fervency, low efficacy trap that some passionate volunteers fall into.  

 


Like mother, like daughters

Is it any surprise that Toni (and her husband Greg) have raised two daughters who share their mother’s community involvement and volunteer spirit?  No it isn’t.  

Jessica is an educator in Guilford County Public Schools.  Teachers are too often unsung heroes in the communities where they teach.  Their jobs are invaluable to the towns and cities where their schools are situated.

Jade is a Literacy Lead for Reading Partners in D.C. and an AmeriCorps volunteer.  Jade recently completed a 1-year tour with the Peace Corps in the Comoros Islands, off the coast of Southeast Africa.

Jackson and her husband expressed understandable pride in the work her two daughters are doing.


 Biography of Toni Jackson

Toni Jackson started working in the Community Development & Housing Department of the City of High Point NC in 2005.  Shortly after starting, she obtained her Real Estate License and was promoted to Housing Specialist, her current position.  She is responsible for managing the Homebuyer Programs, which involves working with the non-profit housing counseling agencies that facilitate High Point’s Homebuyer Education and Individual Development Account Programs. Jackson also assists with intake of the city’s housing rehab programs and conducts Lender and Realtor Certification Workshops.   She’s a liaison to the High Point Housing Coalition, which advocates for fair, safe, decent and affordable housing. 

Prior to working for the City of High Point, Jackson was the Theatre House Manager for the High Point Theatre.  One of the most exciting aspects of her job was she feels the volunteer involvement.  She stated “I was responsible for recruiting, training, and scheduling volunteers for all performances at the Theatre.  I had the privilege of writing the Volunteer Manual for the Theatre”.

Prior to her position at the theatre, Jackson worked in the private sector.  Before working at the High Point Theatre, she worked as the Director of Sales and Marketing for a minority-owned contract furniture manufacturer. Continuum, Inc. manufactured high-end office furniture; the firm closed their manufacturing facility shortly after September 112001 – when consumers cut back on high-end office furniture sales.

She is a member of the Board of Directors for The Arc of High Point, a non-profit organization which provides resources and advocates for families with individual and developmental disabilities. The organization is, Jackson expressed, “committed to securing for all people with Autism, developmental delays, intellectual and/or cognitive differences, the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they live, learn, work and play”.

A recognized Toastmasters International speaker, she volunteers as a Financial Coach for Housing Consultants Group.  While working full-time, she received her BA degree in Non-profit Leadership and Management (magna cum laude) from High Point University.  She has several certifications.

She has been recognized twice for her service and professionalism. She was a Pillars of Fame honoree of the Housing Authority of the City of High Point last summer. The Pillars of Fame Award was established in 2006, modeled after the Wall of Fame in Columbia, SC.  The objective of this award is “to inspire community youth with positive, encouraging images, and role models that are former [authority residents] of public housing and Section 8 who overcame obstacles and became successful leaders and pillars of the community”.  Jackson has also received High Point’s Working Together Award.

She has been married for 32 years to Greg Jackson, who is a small business owner (Superior Custom Fiberglass Co.) in High Point.  They have two daughters, Jessica and Jade and one granddaughter, Ava.


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